History of the Butterfly, Part 63: Fort Madison

The treaty of 1804 gave some indications of the intentions of the United States Government. 

“Art. 9.  In order to put a stop to the abuses and impositions which are practiced upon the said tribes by the private traders, the United States will at a convenient time establish a trading house or factory where the individuals of the said tribes can be supplied with goods at a more reasonable rate than they have been accustomed to procure them.


Art. 11.  As it is probable that the government of the United States will establish a military post at or near the mouth of the Ouisconsing river; and as the land on the lower side of the river may not be suitable for that purpose, the said tribes hereby agree that a fort may be built either on the upper side of the Ouisconsing or on the right bank of the Mississippi, as the one or the other may be found most convenient; and a tract of land not exceeding two miles square shall be given for that purpose.  And the said tribes do further agree, that they will at all times allow to traders and other persons traveling through their country under the authority of the United States a free and safe passage for themselves and their property of every description.  And that for such passage they shall at no time and on no account whatever be subject to any toll or exaction.”

In about 1808, the United States Army began building a fort on the shore of the Mississippi in the city now known as Fort Madison.  The intent was apparently to establish a trading post, or what they called at that time a “factory”.  However, the Indians noted the extensive fortifications and the fact that the people who were building the fort always carried weapons and concluded that the intentions of the builders were hostile.

Source:  Jackson, 1955.

Drawing from Wikimedia–the original drawing was done by John Johnson in 1810. 

About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
This entry was posted in American Indians, Black Hawk, Meskwaki, Poweshiek, The History of the Butterfly and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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